Over 3.2 million voters will exercise their right to vote on Sunday to elect 45 members of the Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly for a five-year term.
A total of 32 political parties are contesting the elections and hundreds of independent candidates are also vying in all the 45 electoral constituencies including 33 in AJK districts and 12 meant of Jammu and Kashmir refugees settled in various parts of Pakistan.
The remaining 8 seats are reserved out of which five are for women, and one each for overseas Kashmiris, technocrats and religious scholars.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of Prime Minister Imran Khan has fielded 45 candidates. Led by Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, PML-N is contesting polls on 44 seats. PPP led by its chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has fielded 44 candidates.
Here are the key constituencies to watch out for in AJK elections:
A neck and neck contest is expected between PTI’s Sultan Mehmood Chaudhary vs PML-N’s Chaudhary Muhammad Saeed. Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry, who is leading the party in the region, is the strong candidate to head the next government.
LA 7 Bhimber-3
A tough contest is expected between PTI’s Chaudhary Anwar ul Haq and PML-N’s Chaudhary Tariq Farooq. In 2016, Farooq defeated Haq with over 2,000 votes.
LA 14 Bagh
Top contestants: Former prime minister and head of the Muslim Conference’s Sardar Ateeq Ahmed Khan, vs PTI’s Major Lateef Khaleeq.
LA 15 Bagh
Top candidates: PTI’s Tanveer Ilyas vs PML-N’s Mushtaq Minhas vs Muslim Conference’s Raja Yaseen.
LA 20 Poonch-3
A tough fight is expected between PML-N’s Abdul Rasheed Khan, PTI’s Khattab Azam Khan and PPP’s Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob.
Top candidates: Raja Muhammad Abdul Qayyum (PML-N), Raja Muhammad Mansoor Khan (PTI) and Chaudhry Latif Akbar (PPP). Raja Muhammad Farroq Haider of PML-N had won the election in 2016 from this constituency.
LA 28 Muzaffarabad
A tough contest is expected between PTI’s Chaudhary shehzad Mehmood and PPP’s Syed Bazil Naqvi.
LA 32 Muzaffarabad-6
Top contestants: PML-N’s Sardar Farooq Haider, PPP’s Shahibzada Muhammad Ashfaq Zafar. AJK’s Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider had won this constituency in 2011 and 2016.